2009 Shannons Sydney Summer Classic Auction
1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 Sedan
This lot is no longer available
By combining the massive M100 6.3-litre V8 engine developed for the 600 Grosser with the smaller, lighter bodyshell of the W109 S-Class sedan, Mercedes-Benz created an executive hot-rod of the finest order. Beginning a lineage that can be traced to the AMG 6.3 models of today, the original 300SEL 6.3 was a revelation when it hit the streets in 1969. Here was a sober, respectable German luxury sedan that, at first glance, could have been nothing more than a 250 six-cylinder beloved of taxi drivers, capable of outrunning most of the top sports cars of the era. Many 6.3 drivers in Europe opted to delete the badges that were, along with slightly fatter tyres, the only external clues to the potential that lurked beneath the bonnet. With Bosch mechanical fuel injection and an overhead camshaft for each bank of cylinders, the V8 developed 300bhp, delivered to the rear wheels via a fluid coupling and four-speed automatic transmission. The air suspension system already in use on the 600 was adopted along with ventilated disc brakes all round to cope with the high speeds the new 6.3 was intended for. Seriously expensive when new, it's hardly surprising the big Mercedes-Benz was built in limited numbers and a mere 6,526 left the Stuttgart factory before production ceased in 1972. Once described by Road & Track magazine as "...merely the greatest sedan in the world" the 300SEL 6.3 is now gaining recognition as a true collector's item and is routinely voted as one of the finest four-door cars ever made.